Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sweet Tips for Making Life Easier!

Merry Christmas, friends! Since we're all not thinking about school now {well, at least we shouldn't be!} I thought it would be fun to do a completely random post for today! 

Since the craziness of the holidays is here, I thought I'd share a few things that make my life a little easier throughout the year. 
In the latest iOs update, Apple did a major overhaul of the calendar.  Not lovin' it, so I had to find an alternative.  I stumbled on Calendars by Readdle.  I have the free version and it works perfectly for my needs.  I love that it's colored coded and I can easily glance at my events in the month view {or in a list, day, or week view}
Do you have {what seems like} a million specials each day? I am HORRIBLE about remembering to send my kids here and there! So, I always set alarms for a minute or two before they need to head out the door.  To make it fun, I use different songs for different alarms.  So, the kids learn very quickly what their "song" is! And, now I'm not the teacher that they're calling to send "so & so to the office!"
As you can see from the alarm above, my day starts early.  So, I don't always have time to read the paper in the morning.  Now, there's a solution for that - The Skimm! Two awesome gals "skim" the paper in the morning and write up the most important news of the day. Now I don't feel like such a dummy when Syria is dropped in a conversation! 
I simply ADORE getting mail.  Letters, cards, and hey, even bills.  I will not let Facebook and email ruin my love of stationery or the sentiment of a thoughtful card.  However, I must admit that I usually remember the day of someone's birthday that I haven't dropped a card in the mail.  Well, enter Treat.com and problem solved! You can schedule cards up to a year in advance.  It's amazing.  Join the Treat Card Club and the cards are even cheaper! 
Google Shopping Express & eBay Now have changed my life.  From your computer or the app, you purchase what you need {bread, Dr. Dre Beats, toilet paper, cold medicine, etc} and it'll be delivered within an hour or so. 
Sadly, Google Shopping Express is only in the Bay Area as of now and eBay now is in limited markets as well.  However, keep checking - it'll save you time & money! 

Wanna hear about my awesome adventure in Ellen's audience for her 12 Days of Giveaways? Head over to my blog to read all about it! A-MAZ-ING day with my sister {and Ellen, of course!}

Now, for some other fun news! Jessica of What I Have Learned and I thought it would be fun to get together with some other California Bloggers! This state is SO huge that it's tricky to get everyone together! However, if you're in the area, let's meet up! 
Are you singing the Beach Boys Song yet? 
We're stilling trying to decide on a place that will work for everyone, but we definitely know it'll be on Saturday, January 11th! Sign up {here} This will be SO fun! 

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous {and much deserved!} break!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thank You!

Merry almost Christmas!  Renee here, from Fantastic First Grade Froggies.  I don't know about you but this month is flying by.  I think I was stuck in a tailspin all of last week, but vacation has arrived.  Well, just as quick as Christmas has arrived it will pass and it will be time to send out thank you notes.  I wanted to make up something simple that my kindergarten son could fill out on his own with his kinder spelling.  I made up this simple letter template that leaves him room to write what he received and draw a picture on the side.  I thought you may enjoy it as well!

Enjoy your holiday!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wonderful Winter FREEBIES!

Hi Cyber Friends, It’s Diane over at "Getting To The Core" from TeachWithMe.com with some "cool" stuff that I hope you and your kiddo’s will enjoy. Simply click on the links below to grab them.

Out here in Michigan we are enjoying lots of snow, so a snowman-snowflake theme is always popular with students.

To help review 2D shapes, I created a Snowflake Shape Matching Game.  If you look closely you’ll see that the center of the snowflakes are different shapes.  Students place the shape tiles over the matching shapes on the snowflakes.  You can set this up as an independent math center, or have students partner up and play as a game taking turns spinning. 

Since the penguin, gingerbread and owl 2D shape craftivities are some of my top downloads, I decided to make a Shapely Snowman Set.  They can be used as a bulletin board, big flashcard review, center game, fun way to assess, or have your students each choose one to make.

Another shape activity is Cecil the 3D cylinder windsock The cylinder shape was always a toughie for my Y5’s, so I tried to do a hands-on craftivity with them each month, so they could wrap their head around this concept.  

Cecil looks really cool dangling from the ceiling and can be found on my blog along with a few more snowman craftivities.

To help children practice addition and subtraction, they can play a game with Dominic the domino-dice snowman.  

To reinforce letters, try this snowman name craftivity.  It includes 4 sets of wintery alphabet cards with a 3-page tips list of ideas and games, including Kaboom!, Memory Match, and “I Have; Who Has?” 
If you want to decorate your hallway ceiling with some wintery writing prompts, your students will enjoy making Wally,the wallpaper snowman 

Look closely at his face and you will see the textured paper that I used from an embossed wallpaper sample book. 

Four writing prompts are included.  Students choose one, complete the prompt and then glue it on the back of their snowman paper plate.  Punch a hole in the hat, tie a yarn loop and suspend from the ceiling. 

For more writing, try a snowman acrostic poem.  There are 3 to choose from.  Students LOVE acrostics and they are an interesting way to practice letter-to word- matching.  You can also reinforce parts of speech: (nouns, verbs, adjectives, & adverbs)

To reinforce letters as well as numbers try these segmented snowman puzzles. 
Finally, if you haven’t tried shaving cream in the classroom, you’ve been missing out on a lot of fun.  

I told my Y5’s that we were going to play inside with “shaving cream snow!” They were thrilled and I could easily whole-group assess a variety of our standards in a fun way. 

Shaving cream mixed with equal parts of Elmer’s glue makes an awesome “puffy paint” that you can do all sorts of “craftivities” with. 

By far and away, my favorite artwork was done using this technique, especially making this “Awwww-dorable”snowman. 

That's it for now.  I hope everyone has a super-relaxing and blessed Christmas; may it be the merriest ever!   See you next year on the 19th! 

Stay safe and brrrr-illiant! ;-)